Welcome back to Story Time with Georgia, where I share weird bite-sized stories from members of the Colorado College community. Did something weird happen to you over spring break? Have you smoked cigarettes with a clown waiting for a bus, been hit by a Tesla at a gas station, or gotten stranded by a bomb cyclone in an interesting way? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: Spring Break
What: A lot of things, including but not limited to: a 911 call, a clown, and a car breakdown
When a bomb cyclone shut down the roads to Denver International Airport right before spring break, Ryan wasn’t sure how he was going to get to his grandmother’s house in Laguna Beach, Calif. Although he could’ve waited for the roads to open and takes a flight, two friends had planned a road trip through Arizona to Los Angeles, so Ryan decided “to save money and be a little more interesting” by joining. They planned to camp in Flagstaff overnight and make it to LA by the end of the following night, which clearly did not happen because this story is lengthy.
The trip started off ominously when the car’s heater didn’t work. In hindsight, the fact that the car had broken down twice the month before was probably not a great sign.
Despite these problems, the group drove until they had to stop for gas in Needles, Calif., where these concerns came to fruition. They had filled up the tank with expensive gas and were ready to keep driving. But when they attempted to start the car, the engine turned off. They got it back on, but pulled over to an AutoZone to have it checked out. At AutoZone, they “let a man start monkeying with the car,” and when he was finished, the engine wouldn’t start at all.
Ryan was stuck for several hours with only an AutoZone, a DMV, a Rite Aid, and three gas stations across the street for entertainment. He passed the time by smoking cigarettes in the parking lot and walking around, ultimately finding a scenic view of mountains and desert behind the Rite Aid. “You normally should never go behind Rite Aid, but it was very picturesque,” he said.
He had a distressing interaction with a woman at a gas station who wouldn’t sell him uncooked hot dogs, which he wanted to grill at a nearby grill, but shortly after, he received word that the car would be towed to another mechanic up the street.
“This was just a bad sign when I got to this place: the guy who’s working on all our cars is wearing a shirt saying something along the lines of ‘Remind me of when I cared,’” Ryan said. At this point, the car battery had died along with the engine, so the fact that one of the windows was still down became a minor issue. They were concerned about their belongings, but there was a Dairy Queen across the street, so Ryan and one of his friends walked over for snacks. Ryan’s friend had gotten back to the car before him, but unaware of this, Ryan saw someone rummaging through the car and called 911, only realizing his mistake 15 minutes later.
Post-911 call, Shirt Man delivered the news that he didn’t have the part he would need to fix the car. Also, it would cost $1,000 and take several days to arrive from Las Vegas. So, they got towed to a Las Vegas auto shop.
Once in Vegas, Ryan and company checked into a motel for the night, and Ryan bought a bus ticket to LA the next morning. When his Uber to the bus station arrived, his driver told him that he “wasn’t sure what to expect [because] this part of town is for [heroin] and prostitutes.”
His bus was two and a half hours late. Stranded at the station and looking too approachable, Ryan said, “I don’t know why, but everyone kept talking to me about random things [while] I’m just sitting there nodding.” Amid the involuntary small talk, he also got to watch “a man meticulously wiping down his beanie baby with a wet wipe.” It wasn’t even a quick spruce-up: “The whole process took like 10 minutes.” Also waiting for the bus was a man in a green hat and full clown outfit and makeup (no red nose though). Naturally, they smoked cigarettes together, and then after leaving, “[the clown] just kept reappearing to smoke cigarettes.” Ryan described this experience as “just hanging out at the bus stop, ya know.” The two cops standing in front of the stop, as if they were expecting a rowdy crowd, each carried a ginormous vape. Everything was weird.
Ryan got on the bus and successfully arrived in LA. He immediately got a celebratory haircut to say, “Goodbye Vegas, goodbye Needles, goodbye Colorado,” boarded a train to Laguna Beach, and reached his Grandma’s house.
Takeaway: Where do I even start? 1. Always BYORHD (Bring Your Own Raw Hot Dogs). 2. Don’t get gas in Needles. (It’s very expensive.) 3. Go behind Rite Aid sometimes, just in case it’s cool.